Former Brazilian coach Mario Zagallo is seen before the start of the Fifa Confederations Cup final between Brazil and Spain, at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro June 30, 2013. — AFP pic
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 8 — Iconic Brazilian football player and coach Mario Zagallo was discharged from hospital Sunday after a 12-day stay for a respiratory infection, a hospital source said.
Zagallo, the first person to win the World Cup as both player and coach, will be able to celebrate his 91st birthday Tuesday at home, after being admitted to intensive care at Rio de Janeiro’s Barra D’Or hospital on July 26.
“After some difficult days, I’m 113 per cent better,” Zagallo posted on Instagram, where the “Old Wolf” has 116,000 followers.
“Thank you very much for all your support! Now you’ll have to put up with me again!” he added, with a picture of himself flashing a thumbs-up.
As a forward, Zagallo was part of the Brazil sides that won the World Cup in 1958 and 1962 alongside Pele.
He was then coach for Brazil’s 1970 title, assistant coach for the Selecao’s victory in 1994, and coach again in 1998 when Brazil lost in the final to France.
The only others to win the World Cup as both player and coach are Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer (1974 and 1990) and Didier Deschamps of France (1998 and 2018).
Zagallo’s zenith was undoubtedly the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
Despite only recently being named coach, his team cruised to the title playing a spectacular brand of football.
The success made players such as Jairzinho, Tostao, Gerson and Rivellino household names the world over, alongside the team’s talisman, Pele — himself now 81. — AFP